Centralcon's Sha Tin housing project launch gets off to a slow start as buyers hold out for better options amid robust supply

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poised to release 2,000 new homes

A weekend property sale got off to a slow start in Hong Kong, as homebuyers balked at flats offered by lesser known developers in a market where thousands of new flats are waiting to launch this year.

Centralcon Properties, a local developer, managed to sell 118 flats, or 32 per cent of the first 374 units earmarked for sale at The Arles in Sha Tin as of 5pm, according to sales agents. Another 162 flats at the same project are scheduled for sale on Sunday.

The Arles, located near the Fo Tan subway station in the New Territories in the city’s northern region, is a crucial test of whether Hong Kong’s residential property bull run can maintain its momentum in October. It’s also the first sales launch in the area since Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor unveiled her plan to build a Northern Metropolis close to the southern border of mainland China, where 2.5 million people may live within 20 years.

Expectations about the Northern Metropolis have given homebuyers more options and stronger bargaining power, giving them the ability to wait for better offers, said Midland Realty’s residential division chief executive Sammy Po Siu-ming.

poised to release 2,000 new homes

The Arles under construction by Centralcon Properties near Fo Tan subway station on 14 October 2021. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

The first batch of flats at The Arles were priced at an average of HK$20,265 (US$2,605) per square foot, about 5 per cent cheaper than New World Development’s Pavilia Farm project at the Tai Wai station nearby.

When fully completed in March 2023, The Arles will comprise 1,335 apartments of between 228 and 947 square feet, selling for between HK$6.17 million and up to HK$23.5 million after factoring in a 15-per cent discount, as is the industry’s norm.

Thousands of new homes are scheduled for launch in Hong Kong in the remainder of the financial year ending in March 2022, with the real estate agency Ricacorp predicting an annual increase of 14 per cent to 36,919 units.

CK Asset Holdings and Henderson Land Development, two of Hong Kong’s largest and best-known property developers, are poised to release 2,000 new homes between then in the New Territories.

CK Asset is about to kick off the marketing push for the #Lyos housing development comprising 341 units in Hung Shui Kui, which is expected to be served by a new rail link connecting Shenzhen’s burgeoning Qianhai economic zone. Henderson has a yet-to-be-named housing project in Fanling North close to the proposed On Lok Tsuen station that is awaiting presale approval.

Hong Kong’s property market has quickly recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, as the city’s economy rebounded with help from the government’s multibillion-dollar e-voucher scheme. The city’s jobless rate fell to 4.7 per cent for the three months ending in August, the lowest level since the outbreak of Covid-19, according to the government data.

poised to release 2,000 new homes

Buyers queueing up for the sale of The Arles apartments in Sha Tin at Centralcon Properties’ sales office at Kowloon Bay on 16 October 2021. Photo: May Tse

The LP10 project jointly developed by Nan Fung Group and MTR had 80 per cent of its flats sold out on the October 1 National Day.

Some buyers also bring forward home purchases before the possible increase in borrowing costs, with the monetary policy in Hong Kong in lockstep with that of the US Federal Reserve.

The city’s lived-in home prices stayed near a historical high in August after rising to a record in July. Sales of newly completed homes totalled 1,700 units in September, the best monthly performance since May, according to Centaline Property. The real-estate agency expects sales of new homes to reach up to 2,500 this month.

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